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When you’ve got an RV, you know that mice can be exceedingly difficult to keep out. I learned the hard way when opening up my RV to de-winterize it! Yuck – what a mess! So I decided to get to know everything I could about protecting my RV from mice. Since then, I have been consistently refining my system and will show you how to keep mice out of your RV too.
Mice enter RVs to seek food and shelter. Using a combination of deterrents and sealing every possible entry point is the only effective way to defeat mice from entering your recreational vehicle.
We’ll take a look at why mice enter an RV or other vehicles and what you can do about it. Keep reading to the end, so you don’t miss our handy tricks and tips for keeping rodents like mice out of your RV.
Pro Tip: If mice do get into your RV use traps immediately! After trying every trap available and snapping my fingers more than a couple times, these are my absolute favorite on Amazon.
For other RV resources, check out:
- A Guide To Winterizing Your RV (Temperatures And More)
- What You Need To Know About RV Antifreeze And Septic Systems
- Are RV Slide-out Awnings Really Necessary?
Why Mice Enter An RV
I mentioned that food and shelter are the main reasons for mice’s unwanted entry into your RV. However, you need to understand the needs of mice as to why they seek our humble RVs for refuge.
Mice Need To Eat
Mice, like many other rodents, are semi-opportunistic. When presented with a food source, they will often seek out shelter nearby. Which makes sense, right? They go where the food is.
Mice also have a fairly good sense of smell. So, a mouse is sure to find it if you don’t store food in a properly sealed container.
Most of the time mice are looking for food, and leftover food is really attractive to them. Its not enough to just keep your RV floor clean, also make sure that the kitchen is clean as well. Food is best stored in a refrigerator and or food closets in sealed containers.
When you store your RV for a long time you should make sure that you do not have any food left in the closets and no food particles or crumbs lying around.
Tips To Keeping Food Safe From Mice
Not only do you want to keep food from being contaminated by mice, but you also want to remove the ability for mice to sense the food in the first place. Here are a few tips.
- Keep the garbage bags changed and removed from the RV.
- Always use glass or rigid plastic food storage containers – never use Ziplocs or other bags that rodents can easily chew through.
- Keep all food in air-tight sealed containers to avoid smells attracting mice. ( I love these storage containers that I got on Amazon)
- Only eat in the dining area inside the RV. Don’t allow kids to eat in the other areas or on the couch.
- Try not to eat inside the RV, but outside instead (when possible).
Mice need Shelter
To survive in the cold weather and to rear their young, mice and other rodents are always looking for a safe and warm shelter, especially during the winter season.
Even if you’ve sealed all the entrances, a minor crack or hole is still sufficient for mice to enter your vehicle. These animals can squeeze their bodies to go through holes even smaller than their body size. Furthermore, they can even make small holes in the plastic and thin metal sheets.
3 Tips to Prevent Mice From Entering Your RV
This section will cover some practical ways to prevent mice from entering your RV. We won’t bother talking about ways to remove them; this is all about prevention, so let’s dive right in and see how we can keep these suckers out!
Use Repelling Smells
Have you ever walked down the road on garbage day in the hot sun and smelled the nasty garbage? Luckily, you aren’t the only one who doesn’t like nasty smells. However, mice have a different sense of smell than we do.
Here are a few things mice hate the smell of, so you can use these smells to your advantage to deter mice from entering your RV. My favorite that works the best is last on this list.
- Fabric dryer sheets – mice are not fans of those nicely scented dryer sheets we all use on our clothes. Try grabbing a box or two of Bounce or a similar scented dryer sheet. Leave these all over your RV so the whole thing smells like fresh laundry, and it may just be enough to keep mice out if there is no food source.
- Essential Oils – like many mammals, mice seem to have a dislike for certain plant scents. Using essential oils like Peppermint to scent the floor of your RV may drastically reduce the rodent’s desire to enter your vehicle. The problem is that these oils will dilute in the air quickly, so frequent re-application is required.
Myth Buster: Mothballs stop mice. Mothballs have been proven to be harmful to mice in high doses, but not enough to kill them or deter them from entering your RV. However, these chemicals are harmful to humans, especially children, and pets. Don’t waste your money on mothballs.
- Chili Powder – If you inhaled chili powder, would you do it again? Not likely, right? Well, chili powder is highly effective at deterring mice. The problem is that it is also semi-impractical.
For chili powder to be effective, you would need to sprinkle it everywhere inside. It might be fine if you have a face mask, so you don’t get the dust in your eyes or inhale it, but come time to clean it up, and you might be spending a lot of time vacuuming chili powder out of your RV.
- Balsam Fir – The native tree to North America, the Balsam Fir, gives off an odor that people often find it pleasant and rodents typically dislike it. Like essential oils of herbs like Peppermint, you can apply a balsam Fir scent to your RV interior to deter mice from entering like essential oils, it will require regular reapplication.
- Smelly soap –Irish Spring soap has a very strong smell. This is my personal favorite detriment I get a large package and place a bar of Irish Spring all over my RV. You can easily order Irish Spring on Amazon here. As a side my camper smells like fresh soap when I get it out of storage!
Use Repelling Materials
Mice will chew through just about anything to get where they want to go. They are also notorious for fitting into the smallest of holes. These facts make mice exceedingly difficult to stop from entering a space. However, there’s still hope because some things do prevent mice.
Here is a list of materials you can use to block up holes you find where mice could enter your RV.
- Steel Wool
If you believe there’s an opening in your RV that’s a getaway for mice, you can put some steel wool there. Steel wool might sound ineffective initially, but mice don’t care to chew the steel wool, so it can be pretty plausible at blocking the pests.
- Wire Brush
The best physical deterrent aside from a steel plate covering a hole is a rigid wire brush. Think of a wire brush you would use to remove rust from a piece of steel. Here is an example on Amazon.
If you can manage to cut a wooden-handled wire brush to orient the wires so they face outward from an opening, it will exceedingly deter mice.
- Dense Bristle Brush
A trick I learned from a friend who works on door installation for food-grade manufacturers told me the following:
“Mice hate firm bristle brushes. We use it all the time around entrance doors like the shipping and receiving areas in food production plants. For some reason, mice can’t stand this stuff.”Jeremy Shantz – 15 year door technician
The dense bristles of a brush that you would find for a door sweep are the type that is referred to here. These brushes come in various sizes and mounting types, so you can cut them into all sorts of sizes to install to block holes that you can’t seal in other ways.
- Aluminum Foil
Mice can even chew thin metal sheets, but what about aluminum foil? Believe it or not, but mice don’t really like aluminum. Due to some unknown reasons, aluminum is unnatural to them, and they try to stay away from it. As a result, aluminum is considerably a good deterrent.
The issue with it is that you need to make fairly compacted foil balls when jamming into holes. You need to make it impossible for mice to squeeze in, which can be difficult with aluminum foil.
If you can master the art of making aluminum foil balls to fill holes, it works very well.
- Don’t Be Fooled By Electric Mouse Repellents or Mothballs.
Electric mouse repellents are pluggable into any ordinary wall socket. They emit high-frequency sound waves that claim to drive mice away. Sonic and ultrasonic waves are quite popular to keep mice away from home and help you achieve the same in your RV.
Unfortunately, there is little to no actual evidence to support these sorts of claims to repel mice. (source)
Plus, mice invasions happen when you are storing your RV. You will not have power when your RV is winterized or in storage.
Similarly, as mentioned earlier, mothballs are also ineffective at preventing mice from entering an RV. Plus this is actually toxic.
Shopping List for Keeping Mice out of your RV.
I thought that creating shopping list for keeping mice out of your RV would be helpful. You can take this list to the store with you or order everything on Amazon. Plus, I give you my all time favorite mouse traps. I have tried almost every trap on the market and I totally love these.
- Bounce Dryer Sheets
- Essential Oils
- Irish Spring soap
- Caulking for sealing your RV
- Steel wool
- Aluminum Foil
- Wire Brush
- This mouse trap
Mice And RV FAQ
How to clean RV after mice?
First, clean up urine and droppings (if any). Wear rubber, latex, or vinyl gloves and a face mask for safety before getting started. Pick up as much of the droppings as possible. The next step is to disinfect the entire RV. Mop the floors and clean the countertop with a bleach solution or disinfectant.
Remove gloves and dispose of them. Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap. Alternately, use hand sanitizer until you can get to the soap and water. Mice can harbor a variety of pathogens you are best to avoid.
How do mice get into RVs?
Some familiar places for mice entrance in your RV include:
- Gaps near the plumbing or wiring.
- Cracks and gaps in the floor.
- Corners where the walls meet.
- Openings near the doors.
- Open windows and doors. (Even if you’ve downright sealed the vehicle, leaving windows and or doors open might allow mice and rats to sneak in).
Can you be suspicious of mice activity even if you don’t see them in your RV?
Mice are nocturnal; hence they can stay in your RV for days or even weeks without being noticed. They love living in a dark environment and avoid getting close to bright lights, like little furry vampires. You might sense their presence but may not see them. Try looking for chewed-up clothes and foam pads on your seats, also for chewed-up wires and bedding and the infamous black rice-like droppings.
Final Thoughts on Keeping Mice out of your RV
Mice are generally harmless and won’t hurt people. However, they can ruin your things and might even do some massive damage to your RV if they aren’t removed immediately. Or better yet, just don’t let them in or anywhere near your RV. I hope these tips help you do just that.
To read more resources to care for your RV more, read these next:
- A Guide To Winterizing Your RV (Temperatures And More)
- RV Shower Won’t Drain: 7 Common Causes And Fixes
- How To Set Up an RV For Permanent Location Use
Hi, I’m Shauna – Welcome to Family Travel Fever. We are a large family, that was bitten by the travel bug! We travel with kids and extended family. I take the kids by myself sometimes because I don’t mind flying or driving solo with my crew to discover the coolest places.
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